The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 12

    Falls

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 2

    Groped

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 4

    Broken Bones